Modern Methods for Remote Artistic Collaboration w/ DropBox, Splice, Skype +

Meeting and collaborating with like-minded individuals has never been easier. Thanks to the almighty internet, you don’t even need to change out of your pajamas! In this article, Dubspot’s Daniel Salvaggio shares five methods of collaborating remotely.

collaberationNot long ago, collaborating with someone on a musical project was an arduous process if you lacked the ability to meet in person. Fortunately, that is no longer the case as remote collaboration has never been easier. With the whole musical world connected via social networks, we are constantly interacting with like-minded artists that may live thousands of miles out of reach. This modern way of connecting allows us to come together to achieve greatness, all from the comfort of our own home. In this article, we’ll explore four modes of remotely connecting with our out-of-reach collaborators to execute and complete projects!

DropBox

dropboxx

My current and preferred method for collaboration via file locker services like DropBox has made file sharing immensely simple. A bonus, it’s free! All it takes is creating a shared folder between collaborators and storing the project within it. When one person saves the project, it is automatically updated for all shared users, giving them access to any folder shared via DropBox. Also, any additional files that are uploaded will be automatically saved. Simple as that!

A few words of warning: For Ableton users, you must ‘Collect All and Save’ in order to ensure that all assets are directed to the shared folder. Additionally, you may want to save each project as a new version, playing it safe in case those involved with the collaboration want to pull from an older version.

Free Online Storage Sites:
DropBox
Box.com 

Skype

shifteeenferno

Skype, or any communication software with screen share capabilities, is a great way to collaborate in real-time, and is as simple as can be. One person shares their screen, exhibiting the project for the other. The person not sharing their screen will give feedback and make suggestions. The primary benefit here is direct, instant communication of ideas. The downside is that it can be very one-sided, as no assets are transferred and only one person is accessing the project. I like to use this method in conjunction with the DropBox method above before saving the project. I’ll make my changes and exhibit them to my collaborator for discussion. Before making any further changes after we exchange ideas, I will then save the project so can we switch roles. When it comes to collaboration, be it in person or remotely, I find solid communication to be absolutely invaluable to the process, especially when aiming to combine two contrasting styles into something singular and unique.

I asked DJ Shiftee about this process, as he and DJ Enferno utilize Skype in this manner when they are unable to meet in person to work on material for their live electronic project, E.A.S.Y.

“We use Soundflower and Ladiocast to pump Enferno’s sound & mic directly through my speakers via Skype. Then Enferno shares his screen, and it’s just like being there, except Enferno doesn’t have to deal with my need to put my feet on the table.” ~ DJ Shiftee

Online Meeting Sevices:
Skype
AnyMeeting
Google Hangout 

Splice

splice
Splice is an ingenious new online platform specifically designed to help facilitate collaboration between artists. Combining online file backup, digital tools, and social feedback, Splice aims to be your one-stop mode of remote collaboration. Upon syncing up your DAW with Splice, you may choose whether or not you want your project to be public or private. Whichever you choose, Splice keeps a backup of any changes made (nicely displayed within their interface) and acts as cloud-based backup and version control allowing you to recover from any point in your project’s history. While these advantages are quite obvious, there are additional benefits to publicly sharing your work in progress such as receiving feedback from potentially thousands of users can help take your track to the next level. Beyond that, there are countless users looking to collaborate via Splice, making it a haven for like-minded, hungry producers!

We interviewed Splice CEO Steven Matrocci about the inception of Splice:

“The idea of Splice came out of a conversation with my good friend Jon Gutwillig, founder and guitarist of the Disco Biscuits, who had begun programming a few years ago. He thought that the programming world had a much better ecosystem to track your work and collaborate, and I agreed. Hearing this really struck a chord in me and after meeting Matt at a programming conference in Bogotá, Colombia and discussing the idea, we immediately knew that we had to build this platform. We announced Splice last fall and have already received a tremendous response from the digital music creation community – we know we’re onto something.” ~ Steven Matrocci 

Read the full interview and find out more about Splice here.

The ‘Old Fashioned’ Way

zipzip
This method is largely basic but is still a working mode of collaboration between those that aren’t using the same DAW. While there may be additional steps involved when compared to the processes mentioned earlier, this is still highly functional mode. Limited by the inability to share an actual project file, you must pool together all of the assets separately and combine them in a zip file to send off to your collaborator. The obvious first step here is to bounce stems, printing all tracks to audio so that they may be reassembled in your collaborator’s DAW. However, working with strictly audio can be limiting for some producers. Not only may it be beneficial to include the original, unprocessed samples (especially drums), but most all DAWs allow you to export MIDI data. Giving your partner the ability to expand quickly and easily upon melodic ideas opens up the potential to add infinitely more depth to your project. Alternatively, a screenshot of one’s piano roll may suffice in a pinch.

File Transferring Resources:
7zip –  free file compression software
WeTransfer – free file transfer service up to 10GB

Propellerhead

As of June 1, Propellerhead, makers of Reason, Rebirth, Take, Figure, and more have released an exciting new global collaboration platform with a strong mobile focus. Taken from the FAQ:

“The Propellerhead service exchanges music pieces between users, platforms and apps. Drop music you’ve made in Take, Figure or Reason, or find and open music pieces from other users of the service. Pieces can be used purely for inspiration, for collaboration on songs, built on or sampled and remixed.”

Users simply sign up and upload content created using Propellerhead’s tools to their servers. From there, anyone can pull the project and add to it, re-upload, and the cycle continues! Additionally, the API is available to developers so that the collaboration software may be used with non-Propellerhead tools. We will be following this release closely and sharing more information as we collaborate using these tools internally.


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The best producers, DJs, and musicians in the world strive to be well-rounded. So should you. In Dubspot’s Music Foundations Program, you’ll explore three major aspects of music: rhythmic theory, melodic theory, and critical listening.

Unravel electronic music’s origins, build your chops, learn musical language and theory, and make and play music the way you want.

What’s Included:

  • Music Foundations Level 1: Pads & Rhythmic Theory
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